Photo: ‘Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me’
Despite how “normal” we all may seem, it is admissible that every once in a while we indulge ourselves in something weird; specifically, something weird that we enjoy in the realm of TV series. This can range from many different things such as the British comedy series ‘The Mighty Boosh’ or the dissociative Netflix original ‘Russian Doll’. But, there’s one series that has a well-known reputation for being strange; a story that brought audiences into an experience that may have felt odd at first to embrace, and one that would go on to influence modern television itself. All while being directed by a film auteur who has captured the peculiar hearts of many.
Now, why am I suddenly talking about ‘Twin Peaks’? Well, besides the show being one of my favorite series of all time (I may or may not have a plethora of themed posters plastered on my walls), and simply being an amazing series that’s maintained a television legacy, this year of 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the prequel ‘Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me’; a.k.a, where the story of ‘Twin Peaks’ all truly began.
Into The Night: An Overlook Of ‘Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me’ Itself
Before I dive into the magnificent (and overtly bizarre) film that ‘Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me’ is, I want to first go into a brief overlook of the original ‘Twin Peaks’ series itself. It is thanks to this series, after all, that we even got the glory of having the prequel in the first place; and that we got the chance to experience a sweet, introverted FBI agent (Dale Cooper) slowly losing his mind over the murder of a girl (Laura Palmer) that he never knew.
If you’re familiar with David Lynch’s work, then you’d know that ‘Twin Peaks’ is actually the least considerably “weird” project that he’s directed. This may likely be because Lynch would be restricted in how far he could go in a sense of experimental due to the series now being shown on ABC; which was overall a double-sided coin for Lynch. It had given more opportunities to bring in different kinds of audiences, but it also had made critics cautious of it being shown on television in the first place. However, in the end, this wouldn’t entirely matter as the series created by Lynch and veteran TV writer, Mark Frost, would go on to become an inseparable part of television history.
‘Twin Peaks’ had only run on TV for two seasons before its cancellation, with the first season being the most sensationally rememberable part of the show as a whole (save for the incredible and jarring cliff-hanger of a final episode) and the second season faltering a tad bit and going towards bringing the audience into the unknown. Laura Palmer’s murder was already solved about halfway through the series, but the town of Twin Peaks itself still contained more eerie mystique about it that begged to be deeply uncovered. This left audiences with the concept that some questions are best left unanswered to keep the mystery of the show alive, and this concept alone would be one of the ways that ‘Twin Peaks’ would directly influence TV series in the future, such as the ABC show ‘Lost’.
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Lastly, it’s notable that ‘Twin Peaks’ would bring Cinema to television; due to the early 90s seeing shows as more lowbrow and Cinema as art that remained at its spot of being highbrow. Overall, it wasn’t common for a series to look like ‘Twin Peaks’ and it wasn’t expected for an already established auteur director to be working on television in the first place (especially Lynch’s and Frost’s bold move of making the first episode essentially a feature-length film). Nevertheless, incorporating Cinema into television would also change the course for what future series could do; examples being ‘Big Little Lies’ and ‘Queen Sugar’.
Laura’s Theme, And Hers Alone
After the show’s cancellation, Lynch decided to move onto a new ‘Twin Peaks’ project; focusing more on our leading lady who was barely and truly there: Laura Palmer. Fans were upset that Lynch would go on to create a prequel for the series rather than putting more out there that would respond to some questions that audiences had plagued him to answer; but, the fans would eventually get what they desired with Showtime’s revival of the series, ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’ premiering years later in 2017.
Despite the initial distaste towards the film, ‘Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me’ would eventually go on to become a cult classic among fans and cinephiles. The story following Laura Palmer, and her last few days before her tragically inevitable murder, would be admirable in its execution to portray an emphatic perspective of the effects of childhood abuse and sexual trauma. Not to mention how, despite the film not answering the questions that audiences begged for, it, in turn, would satisfy the desire of letting us know even more about Laura Palmer herself. And what good would a series be if we didn’t truly get to know the life of the star who lived in the town of Twin Peaks?
At this time, if you’re wondering to yourself whether or not you should watch the film before the series; I’d have to say that watching the series first will enhance your experience of the movie. There are so many elements within ‘Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me’ that nod at the original series, and it’s all-around more morbidly interesting to experience how everything was in the town before it all went entirely downhill after Laura’s murder. It’s also important that you dip your toes in the water of ‘Twin Peaks’ due to the film being rather more disturbing than the series itself, and it’s ultimately better to be used to the strangeness that Lynch brings onto audiences before engrossing yourself into something far more peculiar.
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An Anniversary For The Nightingale
With all that said, it’s hard to believe that it’s now been thirty years since ‘Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me’ was released and had awoken a fire in audiences back then and now (in entirely two different ways). I think it’s beautiful to see how far the television world has come, and how the fanbase for ‘Twin Peaks’ itself has grown. Alluring and horrifying, ‘Twin Peaks’ coupled with its prequel film simply cements the significance that this show has. Lynch knew that there was a story to be told; and a terrifyingly sad one at that.
Working in tandem with composer Angelo Badalamenti to create the memorable and haunting soundtrack, together, Lynch and Frost have created something impeccable; something that still has viewers scratching their heads. Those varieties of t-shirts that beg “Who Killed Laura Palmer?”, and the endless amounts of material objects to indulge ourselves in to make the world of ‘Twin Peaks’ feel a little bit more real to us, simply prove how magnificent this series is. The town of Twin Peaks plagues us as it once did Dale Cooper himself.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I will be driving to North Bend, Washington, to go eat some cherry pie and have some “damn fine coffee” at the beloved Twede’s cafe. Fingers crossed that I don’t have to solve a murder.
By Leah Donato
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